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Toshiba pulls plug on Moorside nuclear plant

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Japanese developer Toshiba will wind down its planned NuGen Moorside nuclear plant in Cumbria.

Following reports earlier this week that Toshiba’s board was set to meet to determine the future of the project, the Japanese developer has announced its plans to withdraw and wind down operations in Cumbria.

Toshiba had been looking to sell the project onto another developer for the last 18 months, after their nuclear division Westinghouse, who formed part of the NuGen joint venture tasked with the project, collapsed in March 2017. The plant was planned to supply 7% of the UKs energy.

A preferred buyer was thought to have been found in South Korea’s state-owned Korean Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), but talks fell through.

A spokesperson said that while NuGen is winding down, the site could still host a plant if another developer steps forward.

“Whilst NuGen will not be taking the project forward, the Moorside site in Cumbria remains a site designated by government for nuclear new build, and it is now for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority as the owner of the site and the Government to determine its future,” a spokesperson said. 

A core set of NuGen staff will remain to implement the hand over to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, who owns the site.

NuGen has retained a team to support the implementation of a winding-up process and will work with Toshiba and its other stakeholders. 

Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) head of analysis Jonathan Marshall said that the demise of plans for a new power station at Moorside should be seen as an opportunity, rather than a risk.

“Shifting away from expensive, complicated technology towards cheaper and easier to build renewables gives the UK the opportunity to build an electricity system that will keep bills for homes and businesses down for years to come,” he said.

“UK offshore wind is already significantly cheaper than nuclear, with onshore and solar power offering even greater savings. The technology needed to shore up supply from variable sources is also getting more competitive, with storage one of the brightest lights.

“Cancelling Moorside does leave a gap in the UK’s decarbonisation plans, but one that is more likely to be filled with the technologies of the future rather than the past.”

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Britain, and Scotland, as countries are failing in power development.

    What is required is reliable energy generation. Several tidal barrages, which will work reliably as long as the moon is with us, scattered round the coastline to take advantage of the heighjt of our large tides seems a bit too obvious.

    Wind is anything but reliable !

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  • I agree that tidal and current energy is obvious low hanging fruit for developing a renewable energy Britain. And in most cases it can help with flood situations by preventing tidal surges. Think of the billions in savings and the loss of production for UK PLC when there are floods. And tidal floods will become increasingly common.
    Wind plus storage plus interconnectors plus eurogrid = base load. Its all good. It means saving the planet by shutting down coal, nukes and frak sites: All necessary. All needed to be done yesterday.

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